Jennifer Connelly Talks ‘Labyrinth’ Audition, Puppet Magic, And David Bowie In 1986 Interview

Fifteen-year-old Jennifer Connelly shared details about her experience working on Jim Henson’s Labyrinth during a 1986 interview, in which she said the best advice the director gave her to help play opposite the magical puppets was “just to believe in them, which, after a while is hard not to do.”

“You get to know them and you become so familiar with them that they don’t seem unnatural anymore,” she added. She also described her co-star David Bowie as “really great,” because “a lot of modern musicians have sort of one style or one idea, and they do that and it’s a hit and everyone likes it but then they really don’t have any where to go because they’ve run out of ideas. But David has changed a lot. He’s very creative. It comes out in his music, and I think that’s why he lasted so long,” she explained.

For her audition, Henson had Jennifer meet him at his Manhattan workshop and read the scene where she meets Hoggle for the first time, and while the late director never told her why he chose her over all the other young actresses who auditioned for the role of Sarah, Connelly did reveal that the most fun she had on set was learning from the director and his puppeteers.

It was recently announced that Lisa Henson of The Henson Co. will produce a reboot of the film, which will be overseen at TriStar by Nicole Brown. The original film was exec produced by George Lucas and told the story of a teenager (Connelly) who journeys through a maze to recover her stolen baby brother from the goblin king, played by the late, great David Bowie. As the Hollywood Reporter notes, “despite the film’s current popularity, the movie was a box-office disappointment at the time of its release,” and coupled with the mixed reviews — which crippled Henson with depression — it would be the last film he directed before his death in 1990.

In the intervening years, the film gained a strong cult following via home video and later on DVD, and fans worldwide have celebrated Bowie’s “Magic Dance” scene. David told an interviewer in 1992 that “every Christmas a new flock of children comes up to me and says, ‘Oh! you’re the one who’s in Labyrinth!'”

Over the years, Jennifer has also commented on how the film continues to resonate with new generations.

“I still get recognized for Labyrinth by little girls in the weirdest places, she said during a 1997 interview. “I can’t believe they still recognize me from that movie. It’s on TV all the time and I guess I pretty much look the same. It’s always very sweet, because it’s usually a pack of 15-year-old girls who recognize me.”

Bowie died early this month after an 18-month-long battle with cancer, and nearly 30 years after working together, Jennifer released a statement to EW about the impression the experience made on her career.

“I met David Bowie when I was 14 and he became a hero to me — because he was an artist, and because he was a genius who had the time to be kind,” Connelly said in a statement. “I’d never met such an extraordinary artist before, and I haven’t since — the world will be a greyer place without him. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”

In her 1986 interview, the Shelter star said she felt “a little shy” when she first met Bowie, but as she got to know him, she realized he’s the type of person “who makes you feel comfortable around him.”

Listen to her 30-minute 1986 Labyrinth interview below, and check out her “Behind-the-Scenes: Sarah Audition” for the film.

Jennifer Connelly’s involvement in the Labyrinth remake is unknown at this time, and it’s unclear if writer Nicole Perlman’s (Guardians of the Galaxy co-writer) reboot is a reimagining of the story or a sequel. Stay tuned!

[Images courtesy Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images/Twitter]

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